After a couple of rounds at The Whistler, we made our way over to The Tiny Lounge in North Center. Contrary to what you might assume, The Tiny Lounge is actually not all that tiny, but was definitely on the empty side when we were there. This was awesome, because we got to hang out & chat with Ollie the wonderful bartender until they closed at two.
Initially I think the plan (insofar as there was a plan) was to have a couple rounds & call it good for the night. Fortunately, conversations with Ollie led to, um, slightly more than a couple of rounds from the menu, and then a couple more off of an outdated menu, and then a small beer flight, and yyyyyeahhh. It was not a short evening, nor a cheap one, but it was DAMN tasty.
With one exception, we were wowed by everything we had here. Alas, not everything we had is listed on the website menu, and I will admit to not having been diligent about my note-taking while I was there, but here are most:
- Lakshmi (left, on the right - hayman’s old tom gin, st. germain, mathilde pear liqueur, cava) - This was the one that we weren’t as impressed with; Don thought the cava was out of balance with the rest of the ingredients, whereas I just thought it was slightly too subtle for my taste.
- Wyatt Earp (2nd pic, on the left - rye whiskey, ginger-infused simple syrup, fresh pear juice, fresh lemon juice) - A spectacular whiskey cocktail with all kinds of tasty things in it that I wouldn’t have thought to try. Delicious & well-balanced.
- Gingerberry Rose (top of the lower two pics - nolet’s silver gin, cranberry-ginger reduction, rose water, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, fresh egg white, mint leaf) - Just amazing. Incredibly hard to describe, as it was so unique, but like the Wyatt Earp, a big part of why this was so good had to do with the interesting (yet fantastically well-balanced) combination of ingredients
- Root Down (next to the Wyatt Earp - hayman’s old tom gin, ramazotti, angostura bitters, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, fresh egg white, orange zest) - What more can I say? This was fabulous as well, and super-root beer-ey!
I deeply, deeply wish I could remember the name of this last cocktail with the strawberry garnish and what all was in it, but it doesn’t look like they have that one online right now. However, if you look closely at the menu shot at the very top of this post, you can see part of the list of ingredients (click to embiggen). It’s near the bottom right corner, and the part you can see says “balsamic syrup, rhubarb bitters, splash of cava.” There may have been a time when something like balsamic syrup in a cocktail might have caused me to raise a doubtful eyebrow, but now these types of things just get me all excited about what new and different flavors they’ll bring.
And WOW! Did it ever. At first, I was amazed at how well the balsamic & strawberry flavors melded together; then I remembered that only a few weeks ago I’d made a salad that had included strawberries and was dressed with balsamic vinegar and it had worked fabulously. Still, freaking amazing cocktail, and I’m so sad that I can’t remember what it was (but seriously, if you’re there, ask Ollie or whoever’s working about it).
Lastly, for all that this is a cocktail blog, I must give mad props to The Tiny Lounge folks for their wine and beer lists. They apparently don’t do a ton of volume in wine, but they do have some pretty special stuff (Turley, for example, a pretty small central California producer that we get down to a couple times each year) for crazy low markups (like under 50%). And as I mentioned before, we ended up doing a mini-beer tasting while we were there, which gave us the opportunity to try some really tasty stuff from microbreweries we’d never heard of (a couple of which were local). In particular, I loved the Left Hand Milk Stout, so maybe give that a try if that’s your bag.
Two down, four (?) to go!
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